The New War on Comedy, and Free Speech, by the Intolerant Left

louis ck

Comedy has had a well-understood purpose: to entertain, to push boundaries and to keep us honest. Historically, the court jester was the one person allowed to publicly mock the all-powerful king perched upon the golden throne. It is for this reason that when a storyteller wants to illustrate a ruler’s descent into madness, we see him begin to turn his ire towards the lowly jester:

It is worrying then that the ever more powerful social media guns of the Social Justice Left are being aimed squarely at comedians. In December, American comedian Nimesh Patel was pulled off stage by students for doing woke (and funny) jokes about race. A few days later, I made headlines when I refused to sign a “behavioral agreement” to perform at a student comedy gig which insisted that I not joke about religion, atheism and 10 other “isms,” as well as demanding that my jokes be “respectful and kind.”

Given the public ridicule of the students and widespread support for the comedians in these cases, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the social justice ideologues would use the holiday season to reflect and reconsider. Think again.

On the very first day of this brave new year, news broke of a leaked audio recording of Louis CK joking about gender pronouns and Parkland shooting survivors. As is now standard with these cases, it was claimed he was “attacking” the subjects of his jokes while his actual words were usually left unreported and no link included to the leaked audio. As usual, we were forced to rely on the opinions of woke “journalists”-often expressed on Twitter-rather than looking at what the comedian actually said or how the audience responded.

Of course, on closer examination Louis CK’s jokes were not particularly offensive and, what’s more, they were funny. Rather than attacking Parkland survivors, he joked that “being at a school where people got shot doesn’t make you interesting”-an observation about the huge media platform some of the survivors have been given, which was clearly recognized as accurate by his audience who promptly roared with laughter. He also poked fun at millennials being worried about offense and safety, contrasting their attitude with his generation’s youthful drug-taking and wild exploits. Millennials duly took offense and claimed he was making them feel unsafe.

On the same day, Netflix pulled an episode of “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj” for the following joke about the killing of Saudi Arabian writer Jamal Khashoggi: “They went through so many explanations, the only one they didn’t say was that Khashoggi died in a free solo rock climbing accident.”

It is easy to see how this joke would be “problematic,” given the need to protect the rights of marginalized groups like the Saudi Royal Family to enjoy Netflix comedies in a safe space.

Of course, a private corporation caving in to pressure from a national government is not the same as woke students censoring comedians, but these events are not unconnected. Once you make it acceptable to tell the jester what is off limits in one context, you enable those who would seek to silence him elsewhere.

The underlying assumptions of social justice censorship are that words are a form of violence, that a subjective interpretation matters more than the speaker’s intent and that safety is contingent on not being teased or challenged. The mainstreaming of these ideas is an existential threat to comedy (and freedom of speech in general). Comedians use lies to tell the truth-the notion that the exaggerations, stories and carefully crafted falsehoods we deliver on stage should be taken literally will be the death knell of comedy. The idea that your safety depends on me never challenging you is the end of any sort of useful communication. The assertion that words are a form of violence is not only nonsensical-whatever happened to “Sticks and stones may break my bones…”?-it is a cynical attempt to appeal to the decency of performers. After all, what comedian would willingly subject some members of their audience to violence?

Comment: What the Left has substituted for real jokes and comedy is what one comedian has called “anti-comedy comedy”. That is, comedians aren’t telling jokes and making people laugh but are performing “standup tragedy”. No longer is comedy about jokes but rather a form of activism. That’s seen in the late-night talk show hosts using their platform as political soapboxes and the Netflix specials from comedians where apparently it’s considered comedy to talk about being raped.This is not what most people want. They want to laugh at comedy shows. The vast majority of comedians will say that it’s ridiculous to judge a joke based on how it made someone feel that heard the joke, but that’s exactly how the radical Left thinks. They judge words based on the effect, not the intent of those words. If someone is uncomfortable, then censorship is a fair reaction. Comedians are essentially acting as canaries in the coal mine right now. The drive towards eliminating free speech will continue unabated.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Godfrey Elfwick, the satirist banned by Twitter, pointed out that, to many on the Social Justice Left, the notion of free speech itself has become a “far right dogwhistle.” For the last year, I have hosted the YouTube show (and podcast) TRIGGERnometry with fellow comic Francis Foster, where we interview experts from different fields in the hope of bringing a light-hearted but fact-focused approach to contentious issues. We’ve interviewed people about the evolutionary origins of racism, the biological differences between men and women, the gender pay gap, populism, capitalism, socialism, communism and much else besides, but nothing has made us pariahs quite like defending free speech.

Even though my co-host is an old school leftie and I’m a centrist with a strong libertarian bent, we’ve been banned from comedy clubs and lost friendships in the industry over our “right-wing podcast.” When the story of my refusal to sign the “behavioral agreement” broke, I was called “alt-right” on the BBC by a fellow comedian.

Those of us in the industry who hoped that recent events would spark a period of reflection among the advocates of social justice and that 2019 might be the year where we finally come together in defense of free speech and its importance to comedy are looking less like the jester and more like the fool with every passing hour.

Despite overwhelming public opposition to political correctness, the arts remain a bastion of wokeness. While ordinary people see through the Social Justice Left’s virtue signaling, Twitter blue ticks and their sidekicks in the mainstream media continue to churn out clickbait about faux outrages. We are now in the bizarre position where what is and isn’t allowed in comedy is determined by sanctimonious writers who’ve never been in a comedy club. This situation is not sustainable. I’m a passionate defender of free speech and not just because I’m a comedian. It is a cornerstone of the West and the reason my ancestors came here after escaping the Soviet Union. It is what makes all of us who we are and we cannot give it up.

Comment: Previously:


The Architects of Western Decline: A Study on the Frankfurt School and Cultural Marxism

This is a study of the Frankfurt School and Cultural Marxist philosophy which now controls Western intellectualism, politics, and culture. It was by design; it was created by an internationalist intelligentsia to eradicate Western values, social systems, and European racial groups in a pre-emptive attempt to spark global, communist revolution.

The Ideological Disease known as ‘Cultural Marxism’ Exposed


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Truth and Free Speech Are Being Taken Away From Us

A population that does not respect and defend free speech, debate, and truth will not long have the liberty that results from free speech, debate, and truth.

Paul Craig Roberts

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Dear Readers:

This is my quarterly request for your support.

Many supporters are now monthly donors. This call is a reminder to those who respond to the quarterly requests and to the many who are yet to respond. In keeping with a decision made by the regular donors, those of limited means are exempt from the request.

Free speech and the ability to speak truth are being shut down. It is happening with the complicity of the print and TV media, the liberal/progressive/left, the US Department of Justice (sic), the law schools and bar associations, Congress, and the federal judiciary.

The attack on Julian Assange is the arrow aimed at the heart of the ability to publish the truth. If a journalist can be indicted for espionage for publishing leaked documents that a corrupt government has classified in order to conceal its crimes, the First Amendment is dead.

Moreover, as the claim is that government was harmed by Wikileaks publishing the truth, Assange’s secret indictment sets the precedent that truth is harmful to government. This precedent will be extended to include the publication of any information or opinion, classified or not, that the government regards as harmful. The media then officially becomes what it mainly already is in effect—a Ministry of Propaganda for the government and those who control it.

As a person who has held high security clearances, I can say with confidence that no more than one percent of classified information falls in the realm of national security. Most classification is simply to prevent the people and Congress from knowing what is going on. Classification allows the various components of government to put the spin where they want it. “National security” has always been an excuse accepted by patriots for the government to conceal its wrong doings and hidden agendas.

Give thought to the alleged harm done by Wikileaks publishing the information leaked by Bradley Manning and the Clinton emails that were downloaded onto a thumb drive and not hacked as security experts have proved. Give thought to the documents proving the warrantless and thereby illegal spying by the NSA that Edward Snowden revealed. How was government hurt by the information? Government should have been hurt, but it was not. The presstitutes did not take up the issue. No one in government was punished for the war crimes, lies, and illegal and unconstitutional acts that the publication of the leaked documents revealed. None of Washington’s vassal governments renounced its vassalage on the basis of the information that revealed they were spied on and deceived. Washington’s vassal governments already knew that Washington lies and deceives them. The Chancellor of Germany simply accepted that Washington listens to her private telephone calls. Vassals simply accept indignities as a consequence of their vassalage. The only people punished were those who revealed the truth—Manning, Snowden, and Assange.

Washington imprisoned Manning and seeks to imprison Assange for damage that Washington did not suffer.

As a country loses its liberty, legal scholars who formerly would have protected liberty turn against it in order to curry favor with power. Recently, I read a specious legal argument that the First Amendment did not really protect Ellsberg and the New York Times when the Pentagon Papers were published, but that no president wanted to be the first one to break the tradition of extending such protection. The author claims that Assange is not protected by the First Amendment even though he is a journalist. The author of the article did not realize that his argument means that journalists have squatters’ rights in First Amendment protection. For the Justice Department to bring a case against Assange means overturning a right that is ensconced in common law as well as in the Constitution.

Washington has shown that it is not interested in any rights but its own to do what it wants. The George W. Bush regime overturned the Constitutional protection of habeas corpus when the regime declared that it could detain citizens indefinitely in prison without presentation of evidence to a court. The Obama regime destroyed due process and the Constitutional right to life when the regime declared that it could assassinate citizens on suspicion alone. Both regimes ignored statutory and Constitutional prohibitions on torture and only punished those who revealed the torture. If Bush and Obama had the right to torture, what was the point of prosecuting those who revealed that torture happened?

As the truth revealed by Wikileaks has had no adverse consequence for Washington, what is the point of Washington’s assault on Assange? In part it is revenge on an individual brazen enough to stand up to Washington, and in part it is to criminalize the telling of truth that is critical of the government.

Once there was a time when the media would have been up in arms in defense of Assange and press freedom. That was before the media was illegally concentrated in a few hands by the Clinton regime and before the media became concentrated ideologically. The media hates Donald Trump and thereby hates Assange for publishing the Hillary emails that the media believes cost Hillary the election. The media is much more intent on helping the Deep State deep-six Assange than the media is in defending its First Amendment protections.

The liberal/progressive/left sees it the same way. The politics of the liberal/progressive/left is Identity Politics, and Identity Politics hates white fly-over America that elected Trump. This is why the media and the liberal/progressive/left are helping the military/security complex tie Assange to Trump, Putin, and “Russiagate.” The Guardian newspaper has destroyed what little credibility it still had by publishing obviously false information concocted to connect Assange to “Russiagate.” See: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/11/30/the-guardian-is-a-professional-liar-not-a-newspaper/and http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50715.htm

The military/security complex planted on its media assets the fiction that Assange fled to the Ecuadorian Embassy to escape prosecution for rape.The presstitutes consistently repeat the lie, as Harriet Alexander in the UK Telegraph does, that “Mr Assange fled to the embassy to avoid charges of rape, sexual molestation and coercion. All charges were dropped by May 2017” (http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50716.htm ).

There were never any such charges filed against Assange. Assange took asylum in the embassy, because it was clear that he was going to be extradited to Washington where he would get a show trial as a spy. It is not possible that Harriet Alexander and the editors at the Telegraph do not know this. Nevertheless, they repeat the lie, the purpose of which is to put Assange in a bad light that will aid his conviction on false charges.

Washington knew that it could tell this lie about Assange raping women because Washington knew that #MeToo and other radical feminists believe that that is what men do, and that #MeToo would be delighted to have yet another celebrity provided for their denunciation.

Washington also knew that its media whores hated Assange for having the integrity and courage that they do not have and that they would willingly stomp him to death with their hobnailed boots.

The US Justice (sic) Department knows it has concocted a false case and intentionally kept it secret, but has no worry because insouciant Americans will believe its indictment regardless.

The judiciary will permit the false case to be tried in a federal court because every judge wants to be elevated rather than criticized and even framed, and the jury will be too afraid to go against Assange’s public conviction in the media to find him innocent.

The jury’s guilty verdict will murder the First Amendment, but the jury will be able to go home to their neighborhoods without being ostracized.

It is not only the government that is attacking free speech. Free speech is under full scale attack by everyone who claims to be “offended,” by the invention of “hate speech” to control what can be said about “victim groups,” by the Israel Lobby that is having laws passed that prohibit the boycotting of Israel for its mistreatment of Palestinians and by equating criticism of the Israeli government with anti-semitism. ( See, for example, https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-film-the-israel-lobby-does-not-want-you-to-see/5661958 ). Twitter, Facebook, and Google are all active in deciding what can and cannot be said. (See, for example,https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/11/30/stating-the-fact-that-men-are-not-women-gets-feminist-banned-from-twitter/ ). Public forums are denied to people who are disapproved of by other people.

A population that does not respect and defend free speech, debate, and truth will not long have the liberty that results from free speech, debate, and truth. This website respects truth, and it requires your support.

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